BEN­GALURU:

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Carls­berg In­dia, the In­dian arm of Dan­ish brewer Carls­berg Group, will ex­pand its pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity in In­dia by set­ting up eight plants, one of which will be in Kar­nataka, its first in the state, said a top com­pany ex­ec­u­tive on Fri­day. "We are look­ing at ex­pand­ing ca­pac­ity by 500,000 hec­tolitres," said Michael N, Jensen, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Carls­berg In­dia. "We have the right brands in the mar­ket and we are very fo­cussed on our strat­egy." The ex­pan­sion comes a decade af­ter the beer maker started sell­ing beer in In­dia. Carls­berg In­dia, which has been chas­ing growth over the past two years with brands such as Tuborg, posted its first profit in the Oc­to­ber-De­cem­ber quar­ter last week on the back of ris­ing de­mand.

Carls­berg In­dia, in its an­nual earn­ings re­port, said it saw a 42% growth this year led by strong de­mand for its beer brand Tuborg Strong, which reg­is­tered the high­est growth among its prod­ucts which also in­cludes Tuborg Green, Carls­berg Ele­phant and Carls­berg Green. Tuborg pipped SAB­Miller's Hay­wards brand of beer to be­come the se­cond largest beer brand in In­dia be­hind United Brew­eries (UB) owned King­fisher. UB has a 50% mar­ket share in mar­ket that sells 270 mil­lion case of beer a year. Tuborg now has a mar­ket share of 15%, grow­ing by al­most 50% dur­ing the year, the com­pany added. In­dia's beer mar­ket has tra­di­tion­ally been driven by strong beer, which ac­counts for 85% of all beer con­sumed. Growth for Carls­berg came at a time when vol­umes for the first half of 2015 were down by a per­cent. How­ever, in the De­cem­ber quar­ter, un­usu­ally warm win­ters in North and bet­ter ur­ban de­mand helped boost sales. Asian mar­kets pulled up sales for the beer com­pany, its global chief ex­ec­u­tive told re­porters post its an­nual earn­ings last week. We see the growth of the Asian divi­sion as an op­por­tu­nity. We have a stel­lar growth in es­pe­cially In­dia," Cees't Hart told Reuters. "For us, it is im­por­tant to see if this strong growth in In­dia is sus­tain­able, by which we are build­ing up a very at­trac­tive busi­ness pretty quickly." Com­peti­tors are feel­ing the pres­sure. "Carls­berg In­dia has in­deed grown," said Shekhar Ra­ma­murthy, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at United Brew­eries in an in­ter­view last week. "The brand that has grown on their side is Tuborg Strong...They are in the very heavy in­vest­ment mode, but they are clearly mak­ing losses," he added.

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